Election observers from the US-based Carter Center said Thursday, September 15 that Ethiopia’s national elections were marred by government intimidation and voting irregularities.
In a final statement on the elections, the Carter Center says early hopes of an open election gave way to government intimidation and, in the Somali region voting, cases of under-age voting and “openly partisan” polling-place workers. The statement says “ethnic hate speech” before election day detracted from the early promise of an issues-based campaign.
While the Carter Center report is critical of the government, it calls “disturbing” repeated boycott threats from the opposition parties.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has defended the conduct of the elections, and has criticized the findings of both European Union monitors and earlier Carter Center statements.
The statement was released while former President Jimmy Carter was visiting health projects his Atlanta-based Carter Center sponsors in Ethiopia.